Crypto Currencies: History, Function, Potential

Bitcoin, Crypto Currency, Digital Finance

A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of new units using decentralized control. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies. Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009 and still is today the most accepted cryptocurrency available. The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin's block chain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger.

Crypto Currencies and in particular the blockchain technology are an innovation with the potential to change how our financial system works. But Crypto Currencies also raise various yet unanswered legal questions to be tackled while implementing the new technology.

In his article (in German only), Luzius Meisser explains the history of Crypto Currencies and the principles how they work and what potential the blockchain based technology has. Focusing on Bitcoins, the author aims at providing the unacquainted reader and lawyer with the basic know how to understand the functionality and capability of the of the distributed ledger technology.

Luzuis Meisser, MSc Computer Science ETH, co-founder of Bitcoin Association Switzerland und an acknowledged expert in the field of crypto currencies and bitcoins. His article was first released in the conference transcript "Legal challenges for web based and mobile payment systems" (2014). Its publication on the MME website is made with kind permission of both the author and the Schulthess Verlag.

Read article (German) (PDF, 564 Kb)

* Dr. Andreas Glarner

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